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RBR CYBER TEAM HEADS TO NATIONALS

teammaroon-2590635Red Bank Regional CyberPatriot Team Maroon members are (back row, left to right) junior Kyle Neary (captain), senior Andrew Noglows, sophomore Jack Ferrone, and (front row, left to right) junior Young Chen, junior Bobby Villaluz, and sophomore Andrew Costa.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School 

In a few weeks, Red Bank Regional High School‘s Team Maroon will be hardening defenses and battling stealth cyber attacks to claim the trophy in the Air Force Association’s (AFA) prestigious CyperPatriot National Finals competition on April 10-12.

The six-man team consisting of captain Kyle Neary, Bobby Villaluz, Young Chen, Andrew Noglows, Jack Ferrone and Andrew Costa will travel with their coaches — RBR Academy of Information Technology (AOIT) teachers Mandy Galante and Jeremy Milonas — to Baltimore, MD, where they will be competing among the top 12 teams in the country.

This represents the third visit to the National Competition in six years for an RBR team. They won the National championship in the first year of the competition’s opening to public high schools, and last year finished in a close race to fourth place.

The teams clinched the State Championship in late February with an amazing showing by three RBR teams (Maroon, Gray and White); sweeping the state championship by coming in first, second and third. Those teams then competed in the Northeast Regionals against the top teams from Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut, where Team Maroon won First Place. More importantly, their score in that round was the seventh highest of all teams nationwide, placing them in the elite top 12 teams, and securing their invitation to the Nationals competition.

rbr-cyberpatriots-9157832Pictured are all of RBR ‘s CyberPatriot competitors in this year’s competition. RBR fielded four teams, the largest in their six years of participation in six years. 

“We began in September with four teams among 3,000 from around the country and persevered through three grueling elimination rounds,” observes Mrs. Galante. “This is like a three season sport which starts in September and goes until the middle of April.”

Much of the team’s training is based on the RBR Academy of Information Technology cybersecurity curriculum, which is unique in the state of New Jersey. It has been acclaimed by the AFA as well as the New Jersey Governor’s office. Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno has visited RBR several times to present the AOIT students with many accolades.

Coaches Galante and Milonas have grown the program from its infancy, to a point where more students are now participating than ever before. Last year, the coaches made the extraordinary effort of recruiting middle school teams to ensure their pipeline for the future of the program, and particularly to attract girls. According to Mrs. Galante, girls would self-select away from technology after they entered high school. The effort worked, with six girls joining the two Little Silver middle school teams. Several of the veterans of that team joined the RBR Academy of Information Technology this year and competed in this year’s competitions, including some female members.

According to Coach Galante, RBR has been very supportive of the CyberPatriot teams, particularly when their practice coincided with RBR’s most successful football season in decades. The high school allowed Friday competition time so that all CyberPatriot students — including the team’s only senior and starting football player, Andrew Noglows — could be present for the championship Saturday games.

Mandy Galante highlights the senior on Team Maroon as an example of the dedication and commitment the CyberPatriots have given to their program. “Andrew had a terrible injury last year, and could not play football. Yet he was at every football game with his arm in a sling to support his team no matter what. That is the kind of kid he is.”

In addition to the thrill of competition, Team Maroon is very aware of the importance of the skills they are honing. Kyle comments, “This is so relevant to life today.  You see so many companies being hacked.”

All six members of the team are seeking long-term internships this summer to aid local companies with their computer needs. All plan to make their careers in the computer science and, most likely, the computer security field.

The National Cyber Patriot Competition was created to foster such interest in American youth to study and train in the cyber security field. For more information on the program visit the website at https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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